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Grand gala kicks off 10th annual PIPfest

Tickets for the opening gala, as well as most other PIPfest events, can be purchased at the PSU ticket office, (503) 725-3307, or also through Ticketmaster. For general festival information call (503) 725-3276, or 1 (800) 547-8887, ext. 3276, or visit the Web site at

The 10th annual PIPfest, Portland International Performance Festival, skyrockets into full swing this Saturday at 8 p.m. with the Opening Gala Benefit. PIPfest, spearheaded by the efforts of Michael Griggs, was first staged in July 1992 as a modest PSU summer session program. Since then they’ve been able to add programs and performers every year to create what the festival is today, a five week-long celebration of international and intercultural theater, music, dance, films and special events.

The gala, hosted by actors Wendy Westerwelle and Vana O’Brien, is a vast array of some of Portland’s most unique and exciting artists. Included in the night’s entertainment are the musical gifts of Obo Addy and 3 Leg Torso, dancers Mary Oslund & Company, Flamenco Puro and Rubby Burns with her group Wonfamilee. Playing at the reception, which follows immediately after the show, will be the Darrell Grant Trio. Tickets for the gala are $20 for the performance, or $35 which includes preferred seating as well as the gala reception following the performance.

However, for the proverbially poor student there are a number of events which are free (which is a very good price). First was “Border Crossings,” a collection of dynamic plays presented through The Haven Project in conjunction with Portland State University’s theater arts department. The plays were written by young playwrights from the Portland Night High School and were performed this past weekend to a packed studio theater. The short plays presented a great variety of characters – turtles, rocks, fish, spaceships and bookworms – discussing subjects ranging from friendship, family and death to personal freedom and isolation.

Those unlucky enough to have missed Border Crossings, please don’t panic, you can still catch plenty of movies and lectures for free. The video series “India Through Her Cinema” is a collection of controversial Indian films. The first film “Fire” concerns the love between two women in a North Indian family. Fifth Avenue Cinema is showing the films starting today and running Tuesdays at 6 p.m. through July 17.

Not to be outdone by their faraway neighbor to the southwest, Japan has provided “Japanese Anime: Horror, Humor, and Mystery” for PIPfest 2001. One can go see and read (they’re subtitled in English) these quirky cartoons Thursday July 5 and 12 at 6 p.m. in Cramer Hall, Room 71. “Chinese Ghost Story” which plays this Thursday is supposedly a gut-buster comedy and is suitable for the kids.

Those interested in dance and photography will definitely want to drop by the White Gallery for Peggy Jarrell Kaplan’s exhibit “Portraits of Choreographers: A Legacy of Dance at PSU, 1984-2002”, which runs through July 27.

Kaplan will be speaking as part of the Artists’ Forum Lecture Series Thursday July 5 at noon in the Urban Center Building Gallery, Room 212. Other artists included in the free lecture series are Eva Magyar, artistic director for The Shamans, Akira Matsui, master Noh actor, Cecilia Lugo, artistic director and choreographer for Contempodanza and Lillete Dubey, artistic director for the Primetime Theatre Company.